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Summer Tasks (Purple Prep)

Placement and assessment exams are hosted online during the summer from June 1-July 31. The requirement or need for you to take any placement exams are dependent on the school of your major. You have seen a bit of info on page 26 of Purple Prep about the summer exams, but you can find more information below.

Chemistry Initial Chemistry Assessment

This assessment is required for all students who plan to take any chemistry course at Northwestern, including students with AP Chemistry credit, by July 31. Every student receives access to this exam within their Canvas account (you receive an email when access is granted around June 1). Receiving access and the email does not mean you must take the Initial Chemistry Assessment, but simply allows you access if you need to take it.

This assessment can be found when logging into Canvas, under the courses section. For more information on the assessment, visit the Department of Chemistry website.

Language Placement Exam

If you previously studied a language, visit the department website for that language to determine whether you need to take an exam or how AP/IB scores count. Access the online language placement exams to complete by July 31. 

*You will take this exam during Wildcat Welcome, not online during the summer

View Weinberg's language requirement webpage for more information (applicable for all Northwestern students).

Department of Mathematics Math Placement Exam

This math placement exam is required for any student (except for McCormick students) planning to take a calculus course while at Northwestern, regardless of AP or IB exam scores. Every student receives access to this exam within their Canvas account (you receive an email when access is granted around June 1). Receiving access and the email does not mean you must take the math placement exam, but simply allows you access if you need to take it. For more information about the placement exam, visit the Department of Mathematics website.

Physics Placement Exam

Credit for Physics 130-1, 2 and Physics 135-1, 2 may be earned by passing a placement exam. These exams are offered once a year during Wildcat Welcome Week. For more information please contact Dr. Deborah Brown, Director of Placement: Please note: the physics placement exam is not a requirement for students who plan to take first quarter physics at Northwestern. However, students who pass a physics placement exam will receive NU transcript credit that satisfies the prerequisite for the next quarter of the sequence.

McCormick School of Engineering Exams and Assessments

For engineering students, you must take the McCormick math placement assessment, the McCormick physics assessment (Dossier), and the Department of Chemistry initial chemistry assessment (above). For more information, and to access your McCormick Dossier, visit the engineering website

NOTE: Summer task items (including everything below) will be launched for the Class of 2023 on May 7, 2019. Below items are for reference until then.

You have a list of tasks to complete over the summer!

To help you stay organized and on track, we have 3 different ways to keep up with your summer checklist. 
Prefer Paper?

You received Purple Prep in the mail in mid-May. This book provides you with all of the info and action items you need for the summer in a single place. You can find the book's digital copy on our summer publications tab above if you want to take a look, or wish to print off the checklist pages of the book (pages 2-3 + the list on your academic school page).  

Prefer digital? 

Purple Prep Checklist is the online way to manage the task items you see in Purple Prep, but will only display the tasks relevant to you! You can also sign up for weekly text reminders, if you wish. Learn more below. 

Updates to Purple Prep or Purple Prep Checklist

The March to the Arch emails are sent the first Tuesday of each month from May through September to bring you timely, need-to-know updates along with supplemental information. This email will be important to review as soon as it is delivered as it is the main way Northwestern will communicate with you over the summer. Find the archive of emails on our summer publications tab above.

Purple Prep Checklist

Purple Prep Checklist is the perfect way to manage your tasks from any computer or mobile device. The only tasks this list will not include over the summer are any specific financial aid tasks you must complete, which are listed on your CAESAR account. 

Access Your Personal Checklist

Log into Purple Prep Checklist (coming May 2019) using your NetID and password. The first time you log in, you will be asked a few questions to help better personalize and populate your summer checklist. 

Add to Home Screen on Mobile

if you're accessing Purple Prep Checklist from your mobile device, once you are logged in and on the checklist page (with the progress wheel), add the site to your home screen for quicker access over the summer. 

  • iOS: Tap the "Share" icon at the bottom middle, and select "Add to Home Screen" on the bottom row
  • Android: Tap the menu button and select "Add to homescreen."
Manage Your Checklist

You will be responsible for managing your checklist throughout the summer; this list does not verify if you have actually completed that item. There are 2 items that will automatically be checked for you once Northwestern has received that information: the completion of your housing contract (by June 1) and submitting your high school transcript (this may not be verified by Northwestern until after the August 1 deadline). 

Click on a task to view detailed information about the task (the same info you see in Purple Prep) along with a link to completing that task and contact information if you have questions about completion. 

Weekly Text Reminders

You can select to receive weekly text reminders; you can do this by selecting it on the entry screen with questions when you log in for the first time, or by visiting your profile within the checklist at any time during the summer. 

If you opt in, you will receive a text each Sundays notifying you of any unchecked items you have with due dates coming up that week (through the following Sunday). If you have completed all tasks for the upcoming week, you will receive no text message. 

Get to 100%

As you work through your tasks over the summer, you'll notice your progress wheel will slowly start to fill in. Get to 100% by the time you arrive for Wildcat Welcome in September and Purple Prep Checklist will help you celebrate!


Purple Prep

You will receive Purple Prep in May 2019; domestic students will receive a physical copy of this book while students living outside the U.S. will receive access to an online edition. Purple Prep will prove to be your go-to guide for all things you need to know during the summer months prior to your start at Northwestern; we cannot stress enough just how important it will be for you to read through this book upon receiving it. This handy book will include a master checklist for you to keep up with everything in a single place. 

You will also receive access to Purple Prep's online compliment, the Purple Prep Checklist application (a way to keep track of your tasks on-the-go), in May 2019.

March to the Arch Emails

The second most important item for you to read during the summer (aside from Purple Prep) is the monthly March to the Arch e-mail. We streamline all of the need-to-knows, updates, and reminders into a single email each month so you know exactly what to read and when to expect it. You'll receive March on the first Tuesday of each month from May through September via your Northwestern email account. 

Timeline of 2019 Emails
  • May 7, 2019
  • June 4, 2019
  • July 2, 2019
  • August 6, 2019
  • September 3, 2019

Wildcat Welcome Live

A few times during the summer, we host a live, online broadcast with current students answering questions. The Wildcat Welcome Live schedule for the summer will be posted below in May 2019. 

Did you take one or more AP or IB exams? If so, you may receive Northwestern credit for your scores and/or be able to skip introductory courses in some sequences.  To ensure that that happens smoothly, please do the following:

IB results should be requested by July 15; requests for AP reports should be made by August 1. If your AP/IB test scores qualify, you may be awarded credits toward your Northwestern degree. Information about how scores are processed is at . See your school's website to learn how AP/IB credits can apply toward your degree. Credit is awarded only upon Northwestern's receipt of official score reports from the testing service. Bring a paper copy of your scores to use in advising sessions this fall.